Bourdain's latest TV series The Layover, has a slightly more frantic and condensed feel to it than his former Travel Channel show No Reservations. The new show gives him 24-48 hours in a city where he must use that limited time to eat, drink, explore and meet the local denizens. He does all of the above and more with great charm and cheerfulness. Even when the local fare is somewhat challenging, he is refreshingly honest (maybe a bit too honest) about the toll it takes on his digestive system.
So far I've watched A.B.'s adventures in Miami, Hong Kong, Montreal, Amsterdam and San Francisco. The latter was so compelling, I was inspired to take a train into my backyard city yesterday to visit one of the locations he featured in the episode, the historic Fairmont Hotel. Alas, the famous Tonga Room was closed at the time, I should have checked their website to see that it's only open for dinner! I did enjoy a lovely brief chat with the concierge about how exciting it was to have THE Anthony Bourdain at the hotel when they were filming.
Every episode of The Layover features the perfect mix that helps make any travel/food show a winner:
- Fascinating and crazy local people: Bourdain seems to attract them wherever he goes. He seems to prefer offbeat individuals and it always adds great color to the episodes.
- Wonderful trivia and history about the locations in a most palatable format.
- Great looking food and drinks from restaurant venues both high (4 star) and low (gourmet food trucks and hot dog stands).
Anthony Bourdain does not try to hide his carnivorous side, so if you are a Vegan this series might not be for you. And his real life feud with Paula Deen the Butter Queen might be off-putting to those who are fond of down home food. However, I find his utter delight in trying new dishes and seeing new places to be captivating. M. Bourdain would make the perfect fun traveling companion, no matter what your gender. I nominate him as my #1 fantasy TV boyfriend, for his humor, daring and endearing NYC accent.
Here's a little taste of The Layover in Miami. Bon appetite!